Home > Blog > Why OmegaVia is High in EPA Omega-3: DHA and Your Brain

Why OmegaVia is High in EPA Omega-3: DHA and Your Brain

Post image for Why OmegaVia is High in EPA Omega-3: DHA and Your Brain

by Vin Kutty, MS on February 11, 2013

In Part 1, we discussed how EPA is effective in reducing inflammation caused by our diet.

Here’s another reason why OmegaVia is high in EPA and low in DHA:

DHA Omega-3 – a little bit goes a long way.

Everyone knows babies need DHA for brain development. Even as adults, there is more DHA in your brain than anywhere else.

There is almost 300 times more DHA in the brain than EPA.

So we should be taking lots of DHA every day, right?

Not really.

Your brain absorbs only about 4 mg of DHA per day.

That’s right. Four milligrams. Per day.

3.8 mg to be exact.

Omega-3 DHA in brain

Brain images showing DHA concentrated in gray and white matter. Source: Umhau et. al., 2009

 

Researchers from Yale and National Institute of Health discovered this in 2009, (whole paper) using positron emission tomography.

C’mon, stop it! That’s the machine they used in Back to the Future!

Would you feel any better if I told you that they used an ‘adaptive fuzzy C-means algorithm’ to compute all this?

Actually, it makes sense when you read the second revelation from the paper:

DHA is very, very long-lasting

DHA has a half-life of 2.5 years or 911 days.

What does that mean, Doc?

It’s the time to use up half of what you started with.

It means that if your brain absorbed 2 drops of DHA today, one of those two drops will have been used up after 911 days. And the other drop would still be in your brain.

Now the 4 mg per day number starts to makes sense.

If your brain can absorb just 4 mg per day and 2 of that 4 mg will still be around after 911 days, then DHA really is long-lasting.

This is a key difference between EPA and DHA: DHA is a structural Omega-3 while EPA is a functional Omega-3.

If you think of your body as a building, the DHA is part of the structure – like paint or tile. It’s there for a while. EPA on the other hand, is like the water or electricity flowing through the building. Here now and beta-oxidized (gone) tomorrow.

This changes many news headlines…

Now that you know the DHA can’t be put into or taken our of your brain for several years…

The average observation period in clinical trials need to take this finding into consideration. Studies on Omega-3 and brain health may need to be 5 or 10 years long to give useful data. Most studies to date have been much shorter.

What do you think of news headlines likes this? ‘Fish oils don’t help ward off dementia.’

fish oil, DHA and the brain

Since DHA in the brain remains locked in for several years and very little DHA can get in, a hypothetical 2-year-long study, investigating the benefits (or not) of fish oil on the brain is virtually useless.

How much DHA does your brain need per year?

3.8 mg per day times 365 day = 1,387 mg DHA per year.

That’s as much as your brain can possibly absorb.

Remember, this does not include DHA that’s needed in your eyes, heart or sperm (if you’re male.) These are the other places where DHA is deposited. And smaller amounts in other cell membranes.

But the lion’s share is in the brain.

This does not mean you don’t need DHA!

On the contrary…every one needs and MUST have DHA. It must be consumed from foods and supplements.

Perfect example: if you are obese and have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, then DHA helps, not EPA.

If you took an excess of DHA every day – which most of us taking fish oil supplements do – your body will convert some of the DHA into EPA.

This process is called retroconversion.

Our bodies are capable of converting DHA to EPA using enzymes, but it is not an efficient conversion. Our bodies are not very good at it.

Converting EPA back to DHA is even less efficient. Why? Because it’s a two-step process – it needs an elongase enzyme followed by beta-oxidation.

There are several metabolic factors that influence these elongation and retroconversion steps. Sources: Hansen et al. Lipids. 1998 Feb;33(2):131-8 and Grimsgaard et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Sep;66(3):649-59. Read full paper here.

Only 10% of DHA is converted to EPA

Dr. Bruce Holub from the University of Guelph estimates that only 9.4% of DHA is retroconverted into EPA. Source: Conquer & Holub. Dietary docosahexaenoic acid as a source of eicosapentaenoic acid in vegetarians and omnivores. Lipids. 1997 Mar;32(3): 341-5.

The same authors conducted a similar study, this time, using Algae-DHA (Dr. Oz’s favorite). Again, they found that 11 to 12% of DHA was retroconverted to EPA. Read full article here.

What does this mean if you follow Dr. Oz’s advice of taking 600 mg DHA per day?

Well, it means you’d meet all your daily DHA needs. That’s good.

But your body will get only 60 mg of EPA from it.

Not enough! Not even close to enough, if you’re hoping to improve mood or reduce inflammation.

However, if you’re a more-is-better type person and decide to turbo-charge Dr. Oz’s 600 mg DHA recommendation to 6000 mg, you may have a problem…

[Geek alert: Eicosanoid pathway alphabet soup coming up!]

DHA competes with GLA for an enzyme called delta-6-desaturase. This means your body makes less GLA. And that reduces the production of DGLA downstream.

So what?

DGLA is the source of several beneficial anti-inflammatory molecules.

Oops!

You don’t want to block DGLA production with too much DHA. So that’s the short-term risk of taking too much DHA.

So if you take too much DHA, take a little GLA from Borage oil for a day or two.

Bottom-line: you need a little DHA every day. But certainly not the mega-doses being preached.

In part 3, we’ll discuss why EPA is the Omega-3 with the mood benefits.

DISCLAIMER: This website is for your education and general health information only. The ideas and suggestions contained on this website are not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your doctor for any health condition or problem. Users of this website should not rely on information provided on this website for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician.

Author Vin Kutty is an expert on fish oil About the Author: Vin Kutty, M.S. is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Holmes February 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Vin,
Wonder what you think of Chris Kresser’s article here?
http://chriskresser.com/when-it-comes-to-fish-oil-more-is-not-better

And here I thought taking 3-4g a day of epa/dha was good for my RA!

Thanks,
Mark

Reply

Vin Kutty February 13, 2013 at 12:54 am

Hi Mark – I know Chris Kresser. I like him. I talk to him. Chris is a brilliant individual and I usually listen to what he has to say. Having said that, there are some areas where we part ways. This is one of those areas. That article is old – I bet if he wrote that now, he’d tone it down a bit.

The reason for his article (I’m guessing) is that until a year or so, there was a school of thought that if a little bit of Omega-3 is good, then more must be better. And people in the Paleo and Crossfit worlds started taking 20 and 30 pills a day! THAT IS NOT GOOD! I am with Chris on that.

But for most people, 2 or 3 grams of Omega-3 per day is plenty. If you need more, like if you have RA, then, more Omega-3 is required. I would think 3 grams of Omega-3 per day may not be enough to reduce RA symptoms. If it does for you, great!

I also strongly believe that if you have some auto-immune condition like RA, you need to approach it with a multifaceted approach. In other works, diet, lifestyle, pharma and supplements. For RA, I’d go on a strict Paleo diet with no wheat, sugar and processed vegetable oils. This change alone will reduce your need for Omega-3. Then add your pharma or Omega-3 supplements on top. Then, you may be able to manage it with 3 grams per day, which is not too much. I’d also get a complete food allergy test done – IgA and IgE. And avoid stuff that you’re allergic to.

It’s when people are absolutely resistant to diet change that they need higher doses of Omega-3. And that’s not natural. People eating fast/junk food often require 7 to 8 grams of Omega-3 to notice relief from RA. Again, not good.

If you notice, at the end of the article, Chris recommends fermented cod liver oil. That’s basically fish oil made in a cauldron like the Vikings did. No thanks. Sorry Chris! Of course, fermented cod liver oil has Vitamin D and A. I get crisp from the southern California sun and eat a lot of liver and dairy fat, so I’m covered on both those ingredients. I prefer my Omega-3 to be made in pristine clean rooms with people wearing white coats, masks and gloves.

– Vin Kutty

Reply

Kelly July 19, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I’ve been taking “regular” fish oil to lower my triglycerides and blood pressure, but have noticed that my sensitivity to light has worsened considerably, even in somewhat darkened rooms.

I was wondering if you could comment on this study. It seems to me that (at least in rats) it showed that high levels of DHA could cause eye damage and increase sensitivity to light:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2666167/

Thanks in advance,

Kelly

Reply

Vin Kutty July 19, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Hi Kelly – there is certainly a lot of stored DHA in your eye. But if DHA incorporation in the retina is anything like it is in the brain, then taking ‘regular’ fish oil pills for a few months will not alter your retinal DHA levels that much. It’s a very slow process. However, it is plausible that changes in the Omega-3 content in the eye affects light sensitivity. We don’t know. I would be very uncomfortable extrapolating ANYTHING from this study on GMO rats.

Reply

Kate February 19, 2013 at 7:20 am

Can you comment on DHA and male fertility? More specifically varicoceles and non-obstructive azoospermia? Some studies suggest there’s a possibility for sperm count improvement if DHA is taken, but at what dosage? And does it have to be unopposed by EPA? And does omegavia have the right balance of DHA and EPA for male fertility?

Reply

Vin Kutty February 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Hi Kate – DHA definitely helps with male fertility. Both count and motility. Besides, brain, eyes and heart, there is a lot of DHA in sperm. I would aim for 200 – 300 mg per day. But he will need to take it for at least 90 days before all benefits are in place. Antioxidants like Vitamins C, E, CoQ10 and even pycnogenol, carnitine are recommended. No, it does not have to be unopposed by EPA. OmegaVia is not designed to improve male fertility per se, but there is enough DHA in the formula to help anyone in need. Don’t just take the Omega-3 and leave out the other supplements I mentioned.

– Vin Kutty

Reply

Kate February 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Thanks, Vin – you rock!

Reply

Kate August 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Hi, Vin, I’m back with a follow up question:we have been doing the Omega Via (3/day) and the other supplements you suggested. We just found out my husband has high thyroglobulin antibodies (in addition to the azoospermia). From my research, I’m thinking of adding selenium and iodine. Do you agree? Anything else helpful for thyroiditis?

Reply

Vin Kutty August 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Hi Kate – I assume you’re working with a very good doctor. Hopefully a specialist. Sometimes, with thyroid issues, you may be better off with an integrative MD. I think thyroid issues are poorly diagnosed and treated by GPs, so finding a good doctor is essential. In the meantime, read all the articles here: http://www.dramymyers.com/category/thyroid/ and here http://chriskresser.com/thyroid Both of these experts are trustworthy and reliable people. Read, read and read some more.

Sure, Selenium and Iodine are necessary – try to get it from seafood, seaweed snacks and brazil nuts. If not, supplement will suffice. Sometimes, it may be caused by autoimmune issues caused by what you eat, so you may need to get that checked out. Time to shift to a whole-foods-only diet. (Meats, veggies, seafood, fruits, nuts and eggs. No sugar, grains, vegetable oil or dairy.) Goitrogens from too much soy or cruciferous veggies can interfere with iodine function – could be another reason. But I’m glad you’re at this point of awareness. Knowing what you’re up against is step 1. A diet change will be necessary, regardless of medical treatment – I assume that your posting this question (instead of your husband) does not indicate any less commitment on his part to change his diet.

Good luck, Kate. It’s not hopeless. There are people and tools out there to make him better. But the diet change needs to start now!

Reply

Kate August 24, 2013 at 12:06 am

I’m embarrassed to admit that right now he’s on his way to pick up up a chain store pizza. We do have a good Urologist who specializes in Male Fertility.

I was gluten and dairy free for over 2 years, but it was torture. I was never satisfied because I love bread so much and I would go hungry a lot because I would forget to bring my lunch or not have time to prepare dinners, etc.

We are definitely willing to change our diets (we’ll do anything to have a baby!) but logistically it seems impossible to do. Is there someone who coaches busy people how to do this successfully and still have a life outside the kitchen?

And of course there’s still the fact that meats, veggies and fruits aren’t completely satisfying. Not sure how to get around that.

Chris March 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Hi Vin,
Your comment above is of great interest to me as I suffered from low sperm count. I’m keen to try the DHA plus Vitamins C, E, CoQ10, pycnogenol and carnitine.

Some questions if you could help.
1. Which Carnitine is better: Acetyl-L-Carnitine or L-Carnitine?
2. Is there are safe daily limit of DHA? Read some news about daily DHA > 400mg brings some risk. Would consuming DHA together with EPA helps to mitigate some of the risk coming from high DHA?
3. Most of your comments is on total Omega 3 e. g. 2000 Omega 3 + 1500 glucosamine for arthritis prevention (apologies if I got the details wrong – can’t find back the page) . My questions is: does the EPA to DHA ratio important here?

Thanks!

Reply

Vin Kutty March 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Hi Chris – in your case, yes, DHA is essential. I’d take at least 500 mg per day.

The form of carnitine that I recommend is tartrate. But in its absence, anything you can find is OK.

You can take 1000 mg of DHA daily without any issues. I would not go higher. There is no need to. Any concentrated fish oil is fine. Dont worry about the EPA/DHA ratio in this case, as long as you’re getting about 500 mg of DHA per day. Don’t over think it.

In addition to your supplement regimen, I strongly suggest you take astaxanthin, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium, and a multivitamin that contains zinc and good amounts of B vitamins.

In addition to this, wear loose clothes (no tight pants), stay away from jacuzzi or hot tubs, cut back on sugar, junk foods and soft drinks. It takes about 90 days for the old sperm to be removed from your body and for new ones to replace them. If you do all of the above, you will notice a rise in numbers.

More here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23775385

Reply

Chris March 30, 2014 at 4:20 am

Hi Vin,
Appreciate much your tips! Learn so much about supplements in my few days here compared to years spent trawling the internet (and I accidentally stumbled to your blog while searching about TG vs EE!)

Hope you continues your excellent posts, not only on omega-3 but other good stuffs. E.g. I ordered Life Extension Super K after reading the post by Kathy and yourself.

Thanks!

Chris April 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Hi Vin,
I saw your often recommendation on Carlson Labs’s Super-DHA Gems and Nordic Natural.

There other brands with high DHA. Should I stick to the 2 above or is it worthwhile to be more adventurous? One of the brands below has really low cost per Omega-3

1. Now Foods, DHA-500, Double Strength (enteric coated with 250 EPA)
2. Jarrow Formulas, Max DHA
3. Doctor’s Best, Best DHA 500, from Calamari

Thanks
Chris

Chris July 22, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi Vin,
I have been taking Pycnogenol (from pine bark) regularly (together with the rest) and about to replenish my stock. Recently I found that Pycnogenol could also mean proanthocyanidins and may come from grape seed or green tea. Are these comparable in terms of efficacy?

Thanks!

John March 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Hi Vin,

I just ordered a 60 capsule supply of OmegaVia and am also giving a capsule a day to my kids… both boys, 6 and 8. Both can swallow the pill just fine. Any issues with the formulation for kids this age? Is it the appropriate EPA/DHA split or should I look at a different formulation/brand for them? Thanks!

Reply

Vin Kutty March 27, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Hi John – the formula should be just fine for kids. I am surprised that your 6 yo can swallow it without trouble. The EPA/DHA ratios are fine for kids too. There is plenty of DHA in there for kids.

– Vin Kutty

Reply

John March 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Great, thanks! Yeah….actually the 6yo has an easier time than the 8yo!

Reply

John April 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Guess I spoke too soon… my 6yo continues to have no issues with the pill at all, but my 8yo cant get it down. Please come out with the kid’s version ASAP! :)

Reply

John April 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I was reading on draxe.com (not sure if you are familiar with him) where he recommends Cod Liver oil for Omega 3 and for natural Vitamin D3. Do you have thoughts on this vs other sources of Omega 3? And thoughts on “natural” D3 vs whatever is in the normal pills that sell for about $9 for 600 of them from Costco?

Reply

Vin Kutty April 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Hi John – a lot of people prefer to get their Omega-3, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A from eating fish or taking cod liver oil. It is popular with people following a paleo type diet. I don’t recommend cod liver oil for reasons I state here: http://www.omegavia.com/cod-liver-oil/

The best way to get your D3 is to go out in the sun and expose your skin to mid-day sunshine. If you can’t or in the winter, the cheap stuff from Costco will do just fine.

Reply

John April 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Ok great, thanks. Good info. I’ll stay with the Omegavia. Oh.. by the way, a week later, my 8yo gets the pills down just fine! So we are all on it! I just give them one pill a day. I try to take two, one morning and one night.

Reply

John May 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm

What about fermented Cod liver oil from a supposedly reputable place like Blue ICe / Greenpasture.org? Especially combined with the high vitamin butter oil for K2 supplementation?

Would this be a quality cod liver oil for natural vitamin A and D and Omega 3s? And would additional supplementation with Omegavia be recommended for Omega 3 only? I have seen a lot about k2 lately, from Tim Ferris (4 hour body) recommending the butter oil, to your latest blog article, to the Weston Price Foundations long held recommendation for cod liver oil and high fat butter oil. I am becoming very interested in K2 supplementation.

Reply

Vin Kutty May 4, 2013 at 12:16 am

Hi John – I don’t like cod liver oil, especially fermented cod liver oil. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/cod-liver-oil/

And I say that as a Paleo eater and I’ve been on paleo since before people started calling it ‘paleo.’ So I get the benefits of eating fermented foods – I eat a lot of fermented veggies and dairy AND I supplement with K2. Butter oil is a fairly good source of K2.

Anyone concerned about heart health should be eating fermented veggies and hard cheeses to get K2, but this is one nutrient that you may want to get via supplementation because fermented veggies are hard to get, people find them somewhat unpalatable and there are a lot of people who ought not to consume dairy.

Reply

John May 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I have also become interested in, and started drinking, raw milk, as I believe one of the many things it has is K2.

Reply

Vin Kutty May 4, 2013 at 12:19 am

Go with hard cheeses instead. You’ll have to drink gallons of milk to equal a couple of ounces of hard cheeses. I pass on raw milk too – too much lactose. Although lots of people swear that raw milk cured their kids of behavioral issues. I haven’t seen enough data to comment.

Reply

Shivam Patel May 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Hey vin, I need some help figuring out what to do. So I started taking omega 3 for 3 weeks and I took 4000mg of fish oil with 2300 mg of omega 3 in it, out of the 2300mg, 800mg were DHA and 1500 EPA per day. It caused me to have anxiety attacks, depression and I’m doing a lot better without it. I am 4 days removed from it, and never had any mental problems before ever, im 23 but Do you know what I can do to get rid of the dha/EPA out of my system. What is causing the anxiety the EPA or dha? And how long will it take for it to be fully out of my system.

Reply

Vin Kutty May 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Hi Shivam – I’ve not heard of EPA and DHA causing anxiety or depression. I am not going to dismiss that you felt this way, because if you hadn’t, you would not have asked me. But what I am suggesting is that you consider the possibility that the anxiety and depression had another root cause. To me, that’s more likely.

Trying to rid your body of EPA and DHA is neither possible nor recommended! The EPA will clear out in a few days. The DHA that got absorbed into your brain, eyes etc will stick around for a couple of years – trust me, this is a good thing.

I suggest you dip your toe in the Omega-3 pool but this time with just one pill a day. Let me know how that goes.

Reply

Shivam Patel May 12, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Well I heard fish oil omega 3 Increases your serotonin levels, but what if you have normal serotonin levels before hand, how does that affect it? I heard also that it would cause anxiety because you would have to much adrenaline in your body from the dha/EPA? Is this all possible?

Reply

Vin Kutty May 13, 2013 at 12:20 am

Highly unlikely that fish oil will spike your serotonin levels or adrenaline levels. I just don’t see it.

Reply

Shivam Patel May 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I also heard the heartburn that I got from fish oil can cause anxiety and stress?

Reply

Vin Kutty May 13, 2013 at 12:21 am

Again, highly unlikely. I suspect other causes.

Reply

Shivam Patel May 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

How much omega 3 do you recommend to take for anxiety?

Reply

Vin Kutty May 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

Hi Shivam – assuming your anxiety is Omega-3 deficiency related, I’d suggest 2000 mg per day. Please talk to your doctor about covering non-nutritional causes of anxiety.

Reply

DPK September 29, 2013 at 12:39 am

Hi Vin,

Help me out with the math here. The brain only absorbs 4mg of DHA/day. I seem to recall you mentioned in another reply that the other organs & brain absorb about 50mg (???) DHA/day total. Omegavia has 260mg DHA/capsule. What happens to the rest of the DHA ?

Thanks.

DPK.

Reply

Vin Kutty September 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Hi DPK – yes, the brain absorbs about 3 to 4 mg DHA per day. But that does not account for your eyes and heart and most other cell linings etc. So let’s be generous and say 100 mg per day. 200 if you want to be really generous. If there is any left over, it gets converted to EPA or burned as energy. Remember that DHA is a fat – and fats are the preferred source of energy for your body.

Reply

PDK September 29, 2013 at 3:03 am

Hi Vin,

I submitted a question earlier but it’s not here anymore. Don’t know what happened so I’ll re-submit.

I seem to recall your reply to another question that the body with all its organs, including the brain, absorbs about 50mg (???) DHA/daily. If my memory is correct, and even with the 10% – 12% conversion from DHA to EPA, that’s only about 80mg of DHA used up. Omegavia has 260mg DHA/capsule. So what happens to the rest of the DHA ?

Btw, your writing is hilarious … I laugh so hard at some of your other blogs :-)

Thanks.

DPK

Reply

Vin Kutty September 29, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Thank you – see answer to other question – it is posted.

Reply

DPK October 5, 2013 at 5:31 am

Hi Vin,

Can you list some of the fermented veggies, beside sauerkraut, that you eat ?

I’m beginning to read about lacto-fermentation, using salt and water, but this sounds like pickling to me.

I pickle (using white distilled vinegar and water with just a little bit of salt/sugar for seasoning) cabbage, cauliflowers, carrots/white radishes, cucumbers, etc. And I add garlic to everything I pickle.

The only “lacto-fermented” veggies I make are mustard greens, using tons of salt, so I make them less frequently because of the salt issue.

Is this what you mean by fermented ?

Thanks.

DPK

Reply

Vin Kutty October 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hi DPK – here’s an incomplete list of fermented foods that I consume: sauerkraut, pickled beets, pickled carrots, home-made yogurt, cheese, occasionally kimchi and my daily dose of KKK – kombucha, kefir and kvass – fermented juices.

What you’re doing is basically right. More here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/category/course/fermented-cultured-foods/

Reply

Hersh January 25, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Just as a scientific question, if your brain absorbed 3.8mg of dha in one day and DHA can remain in the brain for half a year, will it still continue to absorb dha before it needs to be replaced ?
thanks

Reply

Vin Kutty January 25, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Hi Hersh – DHA remains in your brain for much longer than half a year! But as long as your body is in need of DHA, it will continue to absorb it from your diet. If you provide DHA in excess, it can either be burned for energy or converted to EPA.

Reply

Hersh January 27, 2014 at 8:08 am

Oh alright, but say if your body has a low DHA amount but a higher amount of EPA stored in your body, can that EPA be converted to DHA in times of need for the brain?
And suppose you consumed 38mg of DHA daily, along with other omega three food sources would enough still be transferred to the brain?
thanks

Reply

Vin Kutty January 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Hi Hersh – it is easier to convert DHA to EPA than the other way around. It is unlikely for the body to store EPA – that is not how it works. DHA gets stored for the long term, but not EPA. If you theoretically add a drop of DHA to your brain today, one quarter of that drop of DHA will still be in your brain after 5 years. Unless you avoid all seafood and eggs, it is difficult to be DHA deficient.

Yes, ’38 mg of DHA’ plus foods sources of DHA will be transferred to the brain quite easily.

Reply

Hersh January 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

Ohk fine, thanks
but suppose if your brain absorbed 3.8 mg of DHA in one day, and you stated that half of that amount runs out in 911 days while the other half remains in the brain, will it still need to absorb another 3.8 mg of DHA the next day?

Terry Claxton February 2, 2014 at 3:51 am

My husband had targeted radiation on a small cancerous tumor in his brain. Now 6 months later he is experiencing cognitive issues. Can fish oil help this?

Reply

Vin Kutty February 4, 2014 at 4:24 am

Hi Terry – this is difficult to answer. Independent of targeted radiation, Omega-3 can help with cognitive issues. So I think you have to work on that assumption. I would definitely take Omega-3. I would also eat brain healthy foods like egg yolks to give his brain the nutrients it needs, which, shocking to many, includes a lot of cholesterol.

Reply

Hersh February 13, 2014 at 7:38 am

Just wondering, after DHA gets absorbed into the bloodstream after digestion, does it reach the brain first?

Reply

Vin Kutty February 13, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Hi Hersh – we don’t know exactly where it goes first, but given that DHA is mostly found in brain, eyes, heart and other ‘active’ parts of the body, that’s where it would preferentially go because that’s where it is needed. Also, the body has a habit of ‘absorbing’ or incorporating DHA into cells and not letting go. It becomes a part of the structure of the body. Think bricks in a building. Unless you eat a lot of fish or eggs, DHA is not easy to come by in nature. So the body has ways of hoarding it.

Reply

Hersh February 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Hey Vin,
Besides eggs and fish, Ive read that small amounts of omega 3 is also abundant in grain/grass fed poultry and other meat sources such as mutton and beef. Do these foods contribute to the DHA levels an adult needs daily?
Also does the same go for walnuts and dark fruits such as black grapes and raspberries?
thanks

Reply

Vin Kutty February 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Hi Hersh – yes, grass-fed animal meats, dairy and eggs from chicken that scratch feed on leaves and bugs outdoors all provide some DHA. EPA and DPA too. Not a lot, but enough that if you ate these products along with green leafy veggies and nuts, you’d be covered. These foods are also high in critically important Vitamin K2. All this goes away in grain-fed, factory farmed animals. Walnuts have ALA, they are not converted to DHA. About 5% of the ALA gets converted to EPA but nothing gets converted to DHA. But if you like walnuts or other nuts, a handful a day is a good idea. Grapes and berries have no Omega-3,

Reply

Hersh February 16, 2014 at 8:16 am

Just wondering, how much of DHA gets absorbed into a healthy adult human by all the organs in the body on a daily basis?

Reply

Vin Kutty February 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Hi Hersh – good question. We don’t know for the whole body. For the brain, as you saw above, it is definitely under 4 or 5 mg per day. The brain is also slow to absorb DHA. If you were deficient, your brain could take 3 months to ‘fill up the empty tank,’ so to speak. Other parts of the body seem to top up much faster. All in all, I think 100 or 150 mg per day of DHA is plenty if you are not pregnant or nursing, but that’s just my educated guess.

Reply

Helen March 2, 2014 at 11:28 am

Hi Vin, I have been taking a liquid form of fish oil for three years. I have been taking 3.8 g daily ( EPA -1.92g, DHA- 1.2 g and other omega 3’s- .72g). I was supposed to have surgery done and the Dr. wanted me off of the fish oil. I tapered down by 25% for 3 days and the 50%. Three days later I was in a major depressive state. I went back up to my normal dose and now 5 weeks later, I am still in a major depressive state. What do you recommend? Thank you.

Reply

Vin Kutty March 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Hi Helen – depression is not caused by Omega-3 deficiency alone. Deficiency in other nutrients, lifestyle factors, genetics, traumatic events can all cause depression. In your case, the start of a ‘major depressive state’ is very unlikely to be related to the change in your dosage of Omega-3. It is always a good idea to go into surgery without any supplements or other medications in your system – so your doctor has a point.

It’s always a good idea to get professional help with these things, but what most psychiatrists can’t do very well is to rule out nutritional causes of depression. You can do that yourself with a good diet – eat vegetables, seafood, meats, eggs, fruits and nuts exclusively. In other words, a whole-foods, paleo-type diet. Be generous with healthy fats like olive oil. Do NOT eat low-fat. Get plenty of sunshine when you can and walk a few miles a day. You may also want to look into some supplements: http://www.omegavia.com/supplements-for-depression-anxiety/ Hope this helps.

Reply

Helen March 2, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Hi Vin, This happened to me 3 times. I was fine taking the usual dose of fish oils that I mentioned above. About 3 days after I tapered down , I went into a deep depression. The two times previous when I increased back to the usual dose, I was fine but the third btime it didn’t work. Thank you. There were no other changes im ny eatting habits, etc. Isn’t there a such thing as Withdrawal Syndrome from Fish oil? Thanks for your help and quick response?

Reply

Vin Kutty March 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Hi Helen – I’ve never come across a single case of Omega-3 withdrawal in all the years I’ve been doing this. The DHA you consume stays in your membranes and brain for years. The EPA stays with you for at least a week. So after 3 days, your body will still have been flush with Omega-3. It is possible that you’re more sensitive to Omega-3 deficiency levels than others but that would not manifest itself in just 3 days. I still think the root cause is something other than Omega-3.

Reply

Terry Claxton March 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm

How much fish oil supplementation do you reccomend for someone battling cancer? Is there a possibility of consuming to much?

Reply

Vin Kutty March 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Hi Terry – there is no specific dosage for someone with cancer. However, I’d go with 2000 mg of Omega-3 per day – this is a good dose for reducing inflammation – any reduction in physical discomfort, I’m sure, is appreciated.

Reply

LINDA March 24, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I AM 3 MONTHS PREGNANT AND I RECENTLY STARTED TAKING PRENATAL VITAMINS, PERFERABLY THE GUMMY CHEWS FOR TASTE SO I WOULDNT THROW THEM BACK UP. THE RECOMMENDED INTAKE FOR THE VITAMINS I PURCHASED IS 2 PER DAY. THE TOTAL DHA CONSUMED FOR BOTH IS 50MG DHA. I ALSO BOUGHT A BOTTLE OF JUST DHA( 200 MG) JUST INCASE THAT WASNT ENOUGH BECAUSE THE MORE EXPENSIVE PRENATAL VITAMINS SAID THE INTAKE WAS 200MG. IN YOUR OPINION, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT I TAKE THE DHA WITH THE PRENATAL VITAMINS OR WOULD I BE CONSUMING TO MUCH DHA? IF NOT, WOULD YOU SAY WHAT MY BODY DOESNT ABSORB IS PASSED ONTO MY CHILD? I KNOW THAT THE REST THAT ISNT ABSORBED INTO THE BRAIN IS CONVERTED INTO ENERGY BUT I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE?
THANKS,
LINDA

Reply

Vin Kutty March 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hi Linda – good news: you are taking prenatals and SOME omega-3. Bad news: you are not taking enough DHA.

I’ve written about it extensively here: http://www.omegavia.com/fish-oil-during-pregnancy/

Aim for 500 mg DHA now and as you get to your last trimester, aim for twice that much. And continue that during breast feeding.

If taste is an issue, you may want to read this: http://www.omegavia.com/omega-3-kids/

Reply

Shalea May 10, 2014 at 5:50 pm

I am 21 years old and have been taking two 1000 mg fish oil pills per day, containing 300 mg omega 3 each and 250 mg Dha each. Along with this, I was eating tuna at least 2 to 3 times per week, and salmon or another type of fish once a week. I also take a multivitamin and cranberry pill. I started the fish oil in hopes that it would help with my anxiety. I noticed shortly after starting it, I would bleed very freely from anyone cut. I also recall having a numbing sensation in my fingers. Did t think anything of it until I read your article and now I have stopped. I am concerned that I may have caused damage from too much omega 3s or too much Dha. Was taking the supplement along with the omegas and Dha in my food intake too much?

Reply

Vin Kutty May 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Hi Shalea – taking two of these pills plus the amount of fish you were eating is nowhere near too much Omega-3. I suspect you may still have been getting too little Omega-3. The issues you describe are probably caused by something else – to be sure, I would talk to a functional medicine or integrative medicine doctor in your area. More here: http://www.omegavia.com/supplements-for-depression-anxiety/

Reply

Shalea May 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Okay, thanks. I did notice though that the symptoms have stopped ever since I stopped taking them. Also, was I not having too much Dha? I know that the amount of Dha in the tuna I was eating and the pills were well over the recommended amount. I also was eating eggs fortified with omega threes and probably other foods containing it without realizing.

Reply

Vin Kutty May 11, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Hi Shalea – based on what you’re telling me, I am still fairly certain that you were not having too much DHA.

Reply

Jeanine May 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Hello
What omega product do you recommend?
Thank you :)

Reply

Vin Kutty May 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Hi Jeanine – any high potency, pharmaceutical grade fish oil is a good start. But I can’t suggest a specific product without knowing what your age, health goals etc. are.

Reply

Vin Kutty August 24, 2013 at 3:28 am

Hi Kate – eating habits are hard to break, I know.

The fertility issue may also be connected to diet, outside any effect from thyroid hormones.

If you were gluten/dairy free for 2 years and it was torture, my guess is that you were probably eating the wrong things. There are so many i’m-in-heaven delicious paleo-type recipes out there. My goodness! You are not following the right recipes! Trust me!

Bread is addictive…no, not emotionally. There are components in wheat that are physically addictive. Not having time is another matter altogether – we all suffer from that.

If you’re trying to have a baby and are struggling, diet certainly is the right place to start. Get Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. It is worth every penny. It will take your husband about 90 days of good dieting to start turning around in terms of sperm count and motility – that’s the lifespan of sperm. Besides fish oil, he needs to take CoQ10, Pycnogenol, Vitamin E, Vitamin C. He needs to really go on something like Paleo with very little sugar, Omega-6 oils and grains.

There are lots of diet coaches if you need help. Email me offline at vin@omegavia.com and I may be able to direct you to someone.

Reply

Vin Kutty January 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Hi Hersh – let’s separate what the brain requires from the half-life. We know that an adult human absorbs (and needs) about 3 or 4 mg of DHA per day. So regardless of what was available yesterday, you will need another 3 to 4 mg of DHA today for your brain. This does not include the other parts of your body needs, like your eyes.

The half life of DHA in the brain is about 2.5 years. This just tells you that the body hangs onto DHA instead of it passing thru or being burned for energy.

Reply

Vin Kutty April 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Chris – all three of the brands you suggest are OK. I prefer Doctor’s Best and Jarrow.

Reply

Vin Kutty, MS July 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Hi Chris – these three things may contains some of the same proanthocyanidin, but are not replacements for each other. No brand of green tea or grape seed have anywhere near the amount of research that Pycnogenol does. Pycnogenol is very expensive, but the science is truly amazing. It stands above the rest.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:


ABOUT SSL CERTIFICATES
Innovix Pharma, Inc., Vitamins & Food Supplements, Calabasas, CA
Hassle-free returns and refunds